Ireland v Samoa: Teams
at Parramatta Stadium, Wednesday Nov. 5, 08:55, live on Sky Sports 1
Last Updated: 03/11/08 3:34pm
Kelly: targeting third game
Front-row forward Wayne Kerr will be on the bench for Ireland against Samoa after veteran Mick Cassidy, the former Wigan and England forward, pulled out through injury.
The 24-year-old Dublin-born Kerr only took up the 13-man code just three years ago.
"Mick has been carrying a calf strain during the course of this week," said Wolfhounds coach Andy Kelly.
"We're hoping he will be ready for our third game. Wayne has worked hard and we think he's ready to drop in there. I know he's excited about it."
The call-up of Kerr, who played for London Skolars this year, is the only addition to the side that lost 22-20 to Tonga in their opening match last Monday.
Kelly also makes two positional changes, with scrum-half Liam Finn and prop Gareth Haggerty coming into the starting line-up at the expense of Karl Fitzpatrick and Ryan Tandy, who both drop to the bench.
Meanwhile, Kelly insists his side will be concentrating solely on winning the game in Parramatta.
The Irish go into their final Pool C match on Wednesday needing to win by six points to top the group and secure a place in the semi-final qualifier against Scotland or Fiji on the Gold Coast on November 10.
But Kelly is not thinking about the points. "We can't get stressed out by the winning margin," he said.
"We've got to earn the right to put points on the board. It all hinges on us putting right some of the things we felt we came up short with in our earlier match.
"It's a fairly standard winning margin in a close game. If you are 12 or 18 points behind in a game you wouldn't consider it an insurmountable margin.
"We've got to be patient and not start chasing the first game in the first minute."
Samoa, who have six Super League players in their line-up, are clear favourites to top the group after opening their campaign with a 20-12 win over Tonga in Penrith last Friday.
"Both are very physical sides but I think Samoa are more structured and therefore maybe harder to break down but we're confident we can do that," said Kelly.
Samoa will be without Leeds prop Kylie Leuluai after accepting a one-match ban for a high tackle on Fetuli Talanoa during Samoa's win over Tonga and he is replaced by Auckland Vulcans' forward Wayne McDade.
"It is a shame we won't have Kylie playing for us but for Wayne this is a great opportunity," said coach John Ackland.
"He is a very proud Samoan and proud of his heritage and he's been waiting for this chance. We can't wait to see what he can do for us out on the field."
The only other change to Samoa's squad is Misi Talaupapa's inclusion on the bench at the expense of former Wakefield hooker Alby Talipeau.
Ireland: M Platt (Bradford); D Blanch (Wakefield), S Gleeson (Wakefield), S Littler (Salford), P Richards (Wigan); S Grix (Wakefield, capt), L Finn (Dewsbury), E O'Carroll (Wigan), B Beswick (Widnes), G Haggerty (Harlequins), B Harrison (Warrington), L Doran (Leigh), S Finnigan (Bradford).
Subs: M McIlorum (Wigan), K Fitzpatrick (Salford), W Kerr (London Skolars), R Tandy (Wests Tigers).
Samoa: S Samau (Gold Coast); M Utai (Canterbury Bulldogs), G Carmont (Wigan), W Talau (St Helens), F Meli (St Helens); N Vagana (South Sydney), B Roberts (Canterbury Bulldogs); W McDade (Auckland Vulcans), T Seuseu (Cronulla), T Puletua (Penrith), L Setu (St George Illawarra), D Solomona (Bradford), H Hansen (Wigan).
Subs: F Puletua (Penrith), A Lauitiiti (Leeds), M Taulapapa (Cronulla), J Paulo (Penrith).